Why Recessland is the Future of Black Entertainment 

Why Recessland is the Future of Black Entertainment 

After spending many enjoyment filled, Magnum induced hours at Dreamland in Margate, my friends and I hopped in a taxi back to our Airbnb. As we eagerly anticipated the arrival of the 18′ meaty bbq pizzas and garlic bread we’d ordered from Top’s Pizza, we began a debrief of our experience at our first Recessland

Rather than doing Recessland as a day trip, we decided to make it an entire weekend experience. From linking up on Saturday morning to do a road trip to Margate, to securing a beachside Airbnb that was also 10 minutes’ drive from Dreamland, we were intentional about maximising the experience, because as we get older and busier, it’ll get harder to spend quality time. 

Anyway I digress. 

I remember having an unusually emotional moment as we strolled around Dreamland and soaked up the energy. The sun was shining, we were surrounded by thousands of beautiful happy black people, amapiano playing in the background, the smell of jerk chicken being smoked filled the air, dozens of rides and games with queues of eager players. 

Definition of bliss. 

I realised I hadn’t experienced anything like this before. I’ve been to concerts, I’ve been to theme parks, I’ve been to food festivals, but I’d never seen a space that blended all three. 

Most importantly, it wasn’t pretentious, everyone was there to play and have fun. 

Now one thing to know about my friends, these guys are some of the best marketing and strategic minds I know. For many years we’ve taken pride in doing great work and becoming the best at what we do. So yes, we’re enjoying the vibes, but naturally the question arose, “where can Recessland go next?” 

I love this question, because I do think we need to intellectualise some of the experiences we might take for granted, or maybe we’re just nerdy like that. 

Let me set some context real quick. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concepts of the inner child and age anxiety recently. In today’s society, a lot of people in their mid to late 20’s are struggling with who they are and who they should be at this age. They feel like they should be further ahead in life in one way or another, battling with internal and external pressures to be “somebody” by a certain age. 

It makes it hard to just exist. 

But where’s the time to exist when deadlines are looming? And not just work deadlines either. Who gave the bat signal for everyone to get engaged this year?? Friends are settling down by the truckload while that one aunty keeps asking when you will marry. 

Strangers younger than you posting their first properties on Instagram, making you feel like you’re behind in life somehow, and yet simultaneously life feels fast tracked with all this responsibility, and most people don’t feel “ready”. 

In the midst of all of this dynamism, societal expectations and cultural pressures, there are less spaces to meet new people organically. People are lonelier than ever. Burnout is real. And on top of all this, even friendships are on the decline according to a study by the Survey Centre on American Life. 

Then sprinkle in a cost of living crisis, so not only is it hard to spend time with family, friends and meet new people, it costs an arm, a leg, both kidneys and your big toe to do so. 

Crazy shit. 

So that brings us back to Recessland. 

My friends and I agreed that the Recess team has built something very special that has a lot of growth potential. One of the ideas we threw around was Recess expanding on the music component to build an amazing festival to compete with the likes of DLT and Afronation. 

But the other thought experiment we did was much more interesting and unique, and leaned on something I mentioned previously. 


The older we get, the less we play. Playing is an intrinsic part of the human (and social animal) experience, and it’s integral to keeping us balanced. 

We don’t play enough, for many reasons. A big one is a lack of affordable places to play. There’s also a lack of options of activities that can be considered “play”, but I think the biggest reason is more of a social/cultural factor. 

People think they are too “grown” to play. They think it’s an activity solely reserved for kids, or they’re scared to look silly. 

But deep down, I think people crave playtime. They miss the feeling of being young, fearless, silly. They want a safe space where they can have fun with strangers and not feel weird, intimidated or sexualised. 

Creating safe places where adults can play, let loose and connect with others in a way that feels nostalgic and devoid of judgement is something we all need. 

Not only is it a good time, but it helps combat the increased rates of loneliness that plague our society. I can’t stress the last point enough. 

I think this is where Recessland shines. 

For Recess to take over a theme park and make it black af is a genius move. As they grow, it would be interesting to double down on designing and curating experiences that create safe spaces for people to play. 

Spaces that are unique but still feel familiar, lean on the force of nature that is nostalgia, and align with brands that represent, support and align with the culture. Curated experiences that are timeless, can be captured beautifully on crisp iPhone 15 shots, will be re-lived over and over again on Oculus Quests and Apple Vision Pros, and immortalised on polaroids that will be passed down the generations. 

“Here’s proof that your grandad was an enjoyment minister back in the day” 

The more these experiences are rooted in the culture, the more powerful they’ll be. 

Recessland occupies a space in the culture that’s very unique. I don’t think they should try to be the next Afronation, Coachella or DLT. 

Squid Games, Cirque Du Soleil or Airbnb Icons is probably a better vision for the future; with potential to incorporate the wider Margate beachfront into the Recessland experience, involving and delivering value to local businesses and residents. 

The Recess team should spend time studying the experiences that made our childhoods and pre-adult years special, and bring those to life in their own way. 

These physical spaces can be interwoven with technology to create even more special, accessible and unique experiences. Powerful for a generation that’s tech savvy and definitely addicted to TikTok, but still remember how fun it was playing outside with the cousins. 

Technology can be a significant driver for the future of Recessland. The Recess team can use QR codes, Augmented Reality and AI to push the boundaries, while creating a delightful experience for attendees. 

For example, tools to gamify the walking routes around Dreamland as attendees naturally navigate the theme park. This creates interesting opportunities and use cases for: marketing, ads, real time competitions like “guess the act”, unlocking prizes, merch sales, sharing discounts for drinks and food. 

These can incentivise attendees to participate at their pace, not just observe. 

Recess can also leverage technology to collect critical feedback and data. Social listening can be effective, but sometimes attendee perspectives can be swayed based on current moment syndrome with no reflection. Easily accessible feedback forms will be critical to ensure there’s a correct funnel in place to gather this data, and inform key strategic decisions for the team. 

It’ll all take significant CapEx for sure, but it takes money to make money, and I think Recess is sitting on a goldmine that’ll make 19th century Californian prospectors blush. 

We need more spaces for adults to play, and Recessland can be the playground. 

Written by Felix Ochefu, co-authored by Daniel Nyirenda, Shafiq Mohamed, Ausura Eccleston and Kennedy Assoumou